20150105_seoulbeats_running manHello, my name is Andy. And I have a K-pop addiction. Who else is with me? For sure there are numerous hands in the air, but some K-pop fans may not be so sure they have an addiction. If you blog about K-pop or have a Tumblr dedicated to K-pop, it might be easier to recognize. But, if you don’t, what are the signs? How can you be sure that you may be addicted to K-pop (and K-dramas as an extension)? Here are some clues and signs for you to look for.

1. Your sleep schedule is wrecked

Your comrades constantly complain about the all-nighters they are pulling during school, and sympathize with the dark circles under your eyes. Little do they know, it’s because you’ve been up all night marathoning Running Man or trying to catch up on the latest dramas. Of course, you may too be up all night studying, but it’s probably because you were spending the normal working hours watching Korean shows and MVs. You have become a master of procrastinating normal tasks in favor of entertainment.

2. You lack interest in domestic music

Your iPod and/or album collection is consumed by Korean music. It’s gotten to the point where you have to search incessantly for a non-Korean song to play. When friends are talking about the hottest new track from some hot new domestic artist, you are completely lost.  Even K-pop artists know more about the new music from your country than you do. Of course, you have your favorite artists that you continue to follow no matter what. However, if it weren’t for K-pop artists, you probably wouldn’t know who is releasing what. For example, you may have not known Omarion had a new song if you hadn’t been Twitter stalking your bias.

If your area had a K-pop station, you’d never know what was happening outside of the genre.

20150105_seoulbeats_leejongsuk_kimwoobin3. You use Korean words and catchphrases in normal speech

“Aish. Yehet.  Kaeppsong.”  You got no jams. To the casual fan or passerby, these things make absolutely no sense and are mysterious. However, those who are firmly entrenched in K-pop are experienced in the random words that pop up. You are not above dropping a “Chyeah” or “Nam sayin” instead of the actual correct verbiage. After constantly watching dramas, behind-the-scene videos, and interviews, you also begin to find yourself using what few Korean words you know into a conversation, especially with fellow K-pop fans.

It’s not just words and catchphrases either. You are not above answering comments using lyrics from songs and perhaps you draw a correlation between a common phrase and a song. Someone says “Wow!” and your instant response is “fantastic baby.” Similarly, you hear a person quoting The Joker and instead of thinking of the movie, you respond with “get your cray on,” or bust out singing SHINee.

4. You know Duckbutt, Flaming Charisma, Tiger, and Monday Couple

K-pop land is rife with nicknames, initials, fandom monikers, and inside jokes about artists and actors. Sometimes, an entire conversation can happen using these substitutions for actual names and words. Only the most astute K-pop fan can decipher the gibberish of a fangirl or fanboy as they use such shorthand.

Connected to these names are the ships. When addicted, knowing ships becomes second nature. From EunHae and Daragon to the Apple Couple and Lee Jong-suk and Kim Woo-bin, you are all too familiar with who is paired with whom. You may even partake in the shipping, as well. It’s almost inevitable.

5. Your fandom friends know more about you than your family

20141231_seoulbeats_super juniorSome hobbies in life lead you to develop friendships and connections that aren’t contained by borders (have to love the internet). K-pop is one of those things. Due to the still largely unknown genre, the K-pop community is relatively small. If you live outside of certain places, it’s a miracle if you aren’t the only person who actually likes K-pop. Therefore, it’s easy to establish strong connections with other fellow K-pop fans, even if they live in a different place.

You and your fandom friends bond over your mutual affection for K-pop and eventually, the trials and happiness of your life is also shared. Your new friends may even become your saving grace and support system. Secrets are told that not even your closest family members or best friends even know. As you become more entrenched, the more bonds you make and the closer you become. Who else is going to understand you than those who are also into the genre?

6. You know more about idols than you do about your friends and family

Just as your fandom friends know you, you know idols. You spend countless hours reading biographies, watching variety shows, searching the internet, and trawling SNS to find out all you can about your biases – which is just another reason you are sleep deprived. You can name all the members of Super Junior or EXO by just looking at their lips. You also know all their real names, and maybe even the names of their siblings. While the birthdays and hobbies of family and friends may be allusive, those aspects of your bias are not.  The schedules of your biases are also known down to the minute. But, don’t bother asking you what your family did last week, because you have no earthly clue.

Yes, this can get incredibly creepy and weird, so make sure to control yourselves.

20130414_seoulbeats_psy27. You have a K-pop Hipster mode

We’ve all done this, and it’s not a particular good thing. A K-pop artist blows up and suddenly we start saying things like “Well, I’ve been a fan since pre-debut.” Or, “How are you just now hearing about these guys?” This probably came to a head when PSY blew up all around the world. While everyone else is amazed at this “new” thing, K-pop fans are bragging about having watched “Gangnam Style” the day it was released or listening to PSY for years.

Hipster mode may also come out in full force against other K-pop fans. Throwing around words like “noob” or insulting those who are not as knowledgeable about the music as you is not a good way to be. Remember that different people get into Korean music at different times and like different things. Just lend each other a helping hand in finding their way around.

What can you do about this addiction? Well, you could go cold turkey or slowly wean yourself off. Or, just accept that you are stuck in the mire of K-pop. However, be careful so that you don’t fall into black pit of being a “koreaboo.”

If you are happy to be addicted, then enjoy all the bells and whistles that go along with having an interest in K-pop. Other than the lack of sleep and hipster mode, the signs aren’t particularly dire. As long as you remember to live, K-pop land is not that bad of a place to be.

(Images via JYP Entertainment, SBS, SMTown, @Star1, YG Entertainment)